Apple’s clip-on iPhone controller and keyboard detailed in new patent

News / Mobile phones

Apple’s clip-on iPhone controller and keyboard detailed in new patent

  • 2015-02-13 13:12:28
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News / Mobile phones Apple’s clip-on iPhone controller and keyboard detailed in new patent

Apple-iPhone-gamepad-patent

While you’ll find a ton of third-party game controllers and keyboards for the iPhone these days, a new Apple patent granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office suggests the company may have been close to launching a number of solutions of its own.

Originally filed over six years ago, Apple’s patent, entitled “Accessory for playing games with a portable electronic device,” details a number of clip-on accessories that would add physical buttons to your iPhone or iPod.

One of the accessories looks similar to the many iPhone gamepads we’ve already seen; there’s space for your handset in the center, plus a D-pad on one side and a pair of action buttons on the other. It even has built-in “rumble” feedback like a console controller.

The other accessory is a BlackBerry-like physical keyboard for tactile typing, similar to the Typo keyboard that was introduced last year.

“Certain embodiments hold conditions for extras like cameras, microphones, speakers and in one example, a Nintendo DS-like secondary multitouch display,” AppleInsider reports. “Apple suggests a second handset can be used for the latter.”

Apple also suggests that its accessories could have onboard storage for offloading game files, and even the ability to stream gameplay to an external monitor or TV — which we now have with the Apple TV and AirPlay.

Interestingly, Apple’s patent describes how virtual, on-screen controls can obstruct a player’s view of the screen when gaming. This was at a time when the iPhone 3G was still on sale, and the iPad was nothing but an online rumor.

Clearly the popularity of iPhone games in the years following this patent filing changed Apple’s mind, because six years on, we’re yet to see official iPhone controllers or keyboards. However, Apple did make great improvements to third-party controller support with iOS 7.

It seems unlikely at this point, then, that Apple would launch its own controller accessories — there are already so many solutions available, and many of them are very good. But it’s clear the company was toying with the idea many moons ago.

Would you like to see official iPhone and iPad add-ons like this from Apple?



Categories: Mobile phones

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